With Saturday’s murder of US District Judge John Roll of Arizona, who by all accounts was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and the attempted assassination of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords of Tucson, the focus is now on returning civility to our nation. But there’s something missing, as the media rushes to frame this story as one of political discourse run amok. There are gaping lapses in personal protection for elected officials, and it is a true national security threat and a public priority of the highest order if we want to continue to attract talented and caring members of society into public life.
—Solomon Kleinsmith on partisanship in the wake of the Arizona massacre.
Emotions have been running high across the country since the Saturday shooting shattered our sense of security, took a half dozen lives and injured a dozen more victims in Tucson, Arizona.
For months now, the banking industry has been dismissing the fact that they may have been pursuing tens of thousands of home foreclosures with deficient paper work as mere technical glitches.
Last week they got a wake-up call when Massachusetts highest court ruled 6-0 in favor of two Springfield homeowners who had been foreclosed on three years ago. The high court let stand a lower court decision that both foreclosures were invalid because the two banks trying to seize the homes did not actually have the legal standing to do so.
Gary Klein, a Boston based lawyer who wrote a friend of the court brief on behalf of the victorious homeowners, says he has a pending class action involving almost 10,000 families that he says were victims of improper foreclosures. “We need to sort out these faulty foreclosures,” says Klein because the underlying defective paper work will haunt the “future property owners years from now who will have a hard time getting a clear title” to the land they think they own. The Boston Globe quoted one of the banks tried to put the best spin on the ruling by suggesting it only created a "standard legal process" going forward for mortgage companies to follow.
Prayer is an appropriate, but not a sufficient, reaction to Saturday’s event. Fortunately, we as a nation are equipped with the necessary tools: the ability to pass legislation, to engage in and transform political discourse and to support a robust political process.
More charges are expected against the man suspected of killing six people and severely wounding Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Federal prosecutors have already charged 22 year-old Jared Lee Loughner with five felony counts, including attempted assassination of a member of Congress.
I was raised in Tucson’s Barrio Hollywood, lived in Arizona for the first 30 years of my life and considered it home even after I left to begin my academic career. My memories are good and bad. The good include the pleasures of youth complemented by great food, especially the uniquely savory carne seca chimichangas and green corn tamales that are the best I have ever tasted. The bad include discrimination of varying types and intensity.
But the state’s apparent commitment to resuscitating its myopic and racist past weighs increasingly on my estrangement from my home state.
The problem with those two categories is that they leave out one of the largest categories: the sane perpetrator with a personal agenda. Columbine shocked the country because Eric Harris took the personal attack to an unprecedented level: self-motivated terrorist attack. But we see less grandiose examples of the same instinct several times a year. A few shooters who "go postal" are nuts. Most are sane.
If there's one thing we learned from the awful shooting in Tucson on Saturday, in case we didn't know already, Sarah Palin makes some liberals completely lose their minds. It was about 10 minutes after the shooting was announced that Markos Moulitsas of the liberal website Daily Kos, last seen advancing political discourse by writing a book comparing conservatives to terrorists, linked to a map on the Sarah Palin website which featured crosshairs "targeting" Gabrielle Giffords' district in the last election. Obviously, then, Sarah Palin was responsible for the shooting.
As we follow the developments in Arizona around the shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords, we're gathering opinion and reaction from a variety of It's A Free Country contributors. Blogger Solomon Kleinsmith submitted this piece late Saturday night.
The tragic news coming out of Arizona has dominated the news this weekend, and both ends of the political spectrum are jumping all over the issue, trying to use it to their own selfish political ends. Heaven forbid a tragedy like this ever go to waste...
It is looking as though the public had it right all along. Two terms and out makes good sense for New York City mayors. A year into his third term and Mike Bloomberg has been infected with the disease known as third-termism. It is a political ailment that gets the best of them, from Fiorello LaGuardia to Ed Koch. They stay in City Hall too long and suffer the consequences in the form of trouble, trouble, trouble.
I think many of the rule changes being floated by Democratic Senator Mark Udall of Colorado make a whole heck of a lot of sense. I think it's insane that you need 60 votes to even bring a debate to the floor in the Senate, and why we haven't barred secret holds on legislation already is entirely beyond me.
But the wisdom of pushing for these common sense rule changes might be derailed by the overkill path the Democrats are using to get there.
It’s not surprising that the new governor is speaking in imperfect symbols — the act of governing is imperfect and seldom allows simple symbols to go uncompromised. But the tension is not just in his rhetoric. It’s in his first substantive proposals as well.
One cannot simply read the text of the Constitution and call it a day. The very real danger here is that the new Tea Partiers in Congress (and some of their followers at home) will actually listen to the reading of the 7,591 word document (that includes all 27 amendments) without the benefit of real constitutional understanding.
The original text has evolved a bit over the years. We've changed it not only by adding articles of amendment, but also through two hundred years of jurisprudence. No one can understand the Constitution without some greater understanding of the amendment process and the case law that interprets the text.
The US Constitution was read on the floor of the House Thursday, as part of the Republican majority's efforts to renew focus on the founding document. We asked our It's A Free Country team to write about their favorite passage of the constitution, and also want you to tell us about yours. Fill out the form at the bottom of the page, and Brian Lehrer will follow up on-air next week with two constitutional scholars.
—Karol Markowicz, It's A Free Country blogger
The Republican majority moves into the House of Representatives today, fueled by the energy of newly elected Tea Partiers who arrive declaring that they’ll shake things up, undo Obama’s victories and change Washington.
My prediction: they will cause some commotion, get a good deal of attention, undo nothing and Washington will survive yet another push to transform it, for better or for worse.
You have to hand it to the right-wing: they stick to their principles — at least when it comes to the principle of detesting organized labor. The conservative War Against Work rarely misses an opportunity to blame unionized workers for something, regardless of the truth.
Following our recent blizzard in New York, the conservative messaging machine spewed so much hot air, I’m surprised it didn’t help melt the snow.
If future compromising will mean that Obama basically keeps extending tax cuts and lives up to so many conservative principles, I’m all for compromise.
—Karol Markowicz, It's A Free Country blogger